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Old 09-11-08, 04:29 AM   #1
mnaines
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Accessories needed to live car free and be a long-distance biker?

I have a Diamondback Windwood Citi bicycle, and I outfitted it with a luggage rack and a fanny-pack-like storage thing plus some LED lights for safety. I also have a Camelback backpack with a 100oz water bladder, but I need a more comfortable seat. I have to commute 20 miles to college twice a week for my evening classes, but I am unemployed right now, so I am strapped for cash. What are some inexpensive accessories I can use for long-distance cycling?
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Old 09-11-08, 05:22 AM   #2
TuckertonRR
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You've already got lights & a rack, I would say you're all set, except for some bungees you can pick up at any x-mart to tie down stuff on your rack.
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Old 09-11-08, 10:39 AM   #3
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You've already got lights & a rack, I would say you're all set, except for some bungees you can pick up at any x-mart to tie down stuff on your rack.
+1. Also, maybe a milk-crate. And depending on need, rechargeable batteries (and charger) for the lights.

Save the rest of your cash for food.

Seriously.
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Old 09-11-08, 10:44 AM   #4
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Obviously, in the world of cycling there are virtually unlimited options for almost any requirement. Some of the basics that would help you would be, front/rear rack, Pannier bags, possibly a trunk and front basket/bag and never underestimated the power of the Bungee and your Knot tying abilities.You can go anywhere. Thats for LONG distance.

For 20 miles, a rear rack, some bungees and your backpack will be more than enough. Wear the camelpack.
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Old 09-14-08, 12:37 AM   #5
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Some items I think every rider should have regardless if they have.

1. Flat repair kit

The most common problem while riding is if you run over something sharp or have a flat tire. Having a flat repair kit means you can fix yourself up and keep on going.

2. Pump

Without a pump you're not going anywhere after you've repaired your flat. Most riders use schreader (same as car tire valve) so getting a cheap pump is a huge difference then walking to find a petrol station or walking home.

3. Bike multi-tool

This will help you tighten up some things like the rack after a while when you're carrying stuff the nuts will come a bit loose and you can tighten that as with the headset/etc. I own one by CCM and it came with a flat repair kit included. Having a small adjustable wrench can also save the day but you'll have to buy that at a hardware store. My biketool kit pouch was small and had enough room to put the small adjustable wrench inside the pouch.

4. Chain break tool.

This is not a nessessary (sp?) tool but if/when you need it, it is one of the hardest tools to fabricate out of no where in the field. It's almost impossible to take a pin and put it back together on the chain without one of these. Basically this tool will pop the pin out of the chain allowing you to fix your chain should say you have busted links or gears can't shift. My having this tool you can in a pinch take your chain off the bike and shorten the chain by taking off a few links and putting the chain on the lowest gear so you can turn the bike into a 'single speed' bike that still allows you to ride out of any situation you're in (baring in mind if your wheels arn't destroyed) to get you home and allowing you to go to the LBS to get the bike fixed. Using a knife to try and pop off the pins as I've heard some other person somewhere saying is a bad risk. If you slice your finger open it's totally NOT worth it. Or worst slicing the wrist. It is unlikely you'll need this tool but it's always a safety net. I carry one myself and it costed like $1.50 CDN at www.Canadiantire.ca (no affliation).

All these items should be able to be found at your local Wallys (Wal-mart) or dept. stores for cheap but fully useable items. If you're riding about 20miles (32km) the above is what you want at the least in your bag to keep you going.

Topeak makes a bike multitool that has a chain break in it as well but that brand is more expensive. Obviously the lighter the parts/tools the more pricey it is. A $7 mini pump from the dept. store is good for emergencies but DO NOT trust the claims on thier PSI ratings on the top end. Expect about 50-60% of the claim. Most mini/small hand pumps after you hit about 35-40PSI become hard to pump up and take a long time. Tho 40PSI may be low it'll still get you going tho slowing buy more of a softer ride.

Our Wallys in Canada seem to carry about 2/3 what the USA has so you should be able to have a one stop shop buying the items there. Get cheap spare batteries for your blinkies (rechargeable is better in the long run) so you can change them should they run out of power while you're riding. With your LED lighting I would recommend having TWO LED lights on your bike (or one on the bike and the other on you) so should one fail you will have another one to keep you somewhat safe. Being a long distance away and the fact that you don't have eyes on the back of your head makes that more an important thing. If the lights go out up front you can see that and adjust your riding.
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Old 09-14-08, 06:26 AM   #6
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Shop at Goodwill... they get some amazing stuff. You have to go to their outlet rather than the stores to find some obscure stuff though.
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Old 09-14-08, 01:24 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by mnaines View Post
I have a Diamondback Windwood Citi bicycle, and I outfitted it with a luggage rack and a fanny-pack-like storage thing plus some LED lights for safety. I also have a Camelback backpack with a 100oz water bladder, but I need a more comfortable seat. I have to commute 20 miles to college twice a week for my evening classes, but I am unemployed right now, so I am strapped for cash. What are some inexpensive accessories I can use for long-distance cycling?
I'll say mirror. It's cheap enough, and really takes the edge off of riding in traffic. You get to know if the cars coming up on you are going to give you breathing room or not. Good to have a spare tube and a few tools, too.
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Old 09-14-08, 05:52 PM   #8
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You say your seat is not comfy. Are you wearing cycling shorts? If not, get some before you decide to change the seat. I would not want to ride more than a few miles without a padded bum.
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Old 09-16-08, 04:15 PM   #9
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Camelback backpack with a 100oz water bladder - I think you are better off stopping to drink, not having weight on your back.

I would worry about flats. Inspecting your tires every 5mi is one way of avoiding flats. Mr Tuffy may help, see posts pro con. New tires may also help. Winter is coming, are you prepared? Night riding? As to visibility, light colored cloths.
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Old 09-17-08, 03:02 AM   #10
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carry plastic grocery bags for waterproofing what you carry and get a bunch of bungee cords.
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Old 09-17-08, 12:40 PM   #11
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Camelback backpack with a 100oz water bladder - I think you are better off stopping to drink, not having weight on your back.
I agree on the weight, but you don't need to stop to drink from a water bottle in my experience
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